the simple market, the simple life.
Last week after church (I’ve started going to the English service at one of Taipei’s biggest churches, Bread of Life), I went with some darling new friends from Honduras to do a bit of lazy Sunday exploring. The sun was incredibly bright, the temperature perfect. (nothing like living in Taipei in winter to make one appreciate sunshine).
Simple Market is located right in the shadow of Taipei 101, in the Xinyi District. I’d usually associated the district with sleek malls and towering high-rises, so I’d missed this absolute gem of a market, featured in Monocle not once, but twice. It’s anchored by a coffee shop/restaurant called Good Cho’s, the main section of an adorable inside complex that houses a gourmet ice cream shop (taro + mango, anyone? so excited for summer) and a design shop featuring a dizzying array of old favorites + newly discovered talent (wheee!).
We started off by getting henna tattoos by some newly made friends at Om Handmade. Though henna never really works on my skin for some sad, sad reason, sitting there in the sunshine, getting henna done, listening to the tales of Tibet travel from the artists working the booth…so simple, but so good. After wandering around the market and making a few purchases, we sat on the grassed-over roof of one of the dozens of little houses littering the area and sighed at 101 glittering in the distance.
It was then that it happened, and it really hasn’t happened in a while. I sat there and consciously thought: I love my life. I really, really love my life. It was so different from the misery of New York, and the pressure of people telling me: “Oh, you’re soooo lucky, you get to live in New York!”. I hated it, and the pressure of feeling like I had to love my life because I was privileged enough to live in NYC made the experience all the more miserable.
I started school this week, and I was dreading the conscious shift of vacation life in Taiwan to school. There’s such a separation, many times, with my friends in the states. They have vacation and play and explore during breaks, and then there’s a physical drive to school, and then school begins, an perpetuating cycle until graduation. That shift didn’t come, because—as I realized, it doesn’t have to. I go to class, then I go to cafes to do my work, and art museums and new restaurants and things like Simple Market have their regularly slotted time in my life & heart.
I used to be really worried about what people thought about my life, and would make a conscious effort to keep my life from looking too easy, too simple, too good, in a way. It’s definitely been a main source of criticism from people who’ve known me in the past. And I made such a battle to combat that image: carefully calculated posts bitching about essays, talking about this internship and that opportunity. One of my professors at my new university spent the whole first class showering us with anecdotes from her experience in the world of higher education, three degrees from Harvard, Cambridge, U.Chicago…you get the drift. “I lived in the library, morning ‘til night,” she told us. But I’ll never be like that. I can’t, and finally, I’m okay with it. The next four years will have their share of stress and anxiety at times, but I’m not afraid to say that they’ll be mostly filled with enjoyment of the so simple, so good things in life: good food + coffee, friends, love + laughter and lots, lots, lots of adventures. Yes, this is the season to work. Yes, this is the season to let go and have fun. And yes, I will enjoy it a hell of a lot, thank you very much.